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# Adventures of a Mathematician

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The autobiography of mathematician Stanislaw Ulam, one of the great scientific minds of the twentieth century, tells a story rich with amazingly prophetic speculations and peppered with lively anecdotes. As a member of the Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1944 on, Ulam helped to precipitate some of the most dramatic changes of the postwar world. He was among the first
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Paperback, 384 pages

Published
July 23rd 1991
by University of California Press
(first published 1976)

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This is quite remarkable coming from one of the top mathematicians of his time. His own approach to mathematics was ...more

Як молодий амбітний ...more

That said, the book is still worth reading, especially if you want to know more about the background of the Manhattan project and the birth of computers. Not from the technical point of view though: Ulam uses the technical jargon very sparsely, but what I found interesting is his account of people he has met and ...more

**Fascinating look into the mind of a genius!**

Stan Ulam documents growing up in Lwow, Poland, how he became enchanted by math, and would ultimately go on to be the father of the H-Bomb, in Los Alamos. Along the way he wrote countless papers, but is probably best known for discovering the "Monte Carlo Method", today much used in statistical analysis.

Besonders beeindruckend wie er von seiner Jugend in Polen berichtet, von irgendwelchen Leuten und dann immer lakonisch sagt ... wurde 1944 von den Deutschen ermordet, ... kam im Konzentrationslager x um. Gerade weil er es nur nebenher erwähnt.

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“I remember what seemed to me a bright remark he made after a month's stay in England about the difference between Polish and English "intellectual" conversations. He said that in Poland people talked foolishly about important things, and in England intelligently about foolish or trivial things.”
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“Some could say it is the external world which has molded our thinking-that is, the operation of the human brain-into what is now called logic. Others-philosophers and scientists alike-say that our logical thought (thinking process?) is a creation of the internal workings of the mind as they developed through evolution "independently" of the action of the outside world. Obviously, mathematics is some of both. It seems to be a language both for the description of the external world, and possibly even more so for the analysis of ourselves. In its evolution from a more primitive nervous system, the brain, as an organ with ten or more billion neurons and many more connections between them must have changed and grown as a result of many accidents.

The very existence of mathematics is due to the fact that there exist statements or theorems, which are very simple to state but whose proofs demand pages of explanations. Nobody knows why this should be so. The simplicity of many of these statements has both aesthetic value and philosophical interest.”
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The very existence of mathematics is due to the fact that there exist statements or theorems, which are very simple to state but whose proofs demand pages of explanations. Nobody knows why this should be so. The simplicity of many of these statements has both aesthetic value and philosophical interest.”